WCU’s Rash, Duncan and Fariello featured at Burnsville literary festival

Ron Rash

Three faculty members at Western Carolina University are among presenters at the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, a free event to be held Friday, Sept. 9, and Saturday, Sept. 10, in Burnsville.

Ron Rash, WCU’s Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture, will be the keynote speaker at 7 p.m. Saturday in Burnsville’s Town Center Legacy Room.

Rash, a North Carolina native, is the acclaimed author of 11 works of poetry, short stories and long fiction, including the novels “Saints at the River,” “The World Made Straight” and “Serena.” In 2010, he captured the world’s richest prize for the short story literary form, the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, for his collection “Burning Bright.”

Rash also will read from his new work of poetry, “Waking,” at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Legacy Room, and will participate in a question-and-answer session about “Serena” at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the same location.

Anna Fariello with her 2009 publication on Cherokee basketry.

Anna Fariello

Also presenting at the festival is WCU faculty member Pamela Duncan, assistant professor of English at WCU and author of the novels “Moon Women” (a Southeastern Booksellers Association Award finalist), “Plant Life” (winner of the 2003 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction) and “The Big Beautiful,” her latest work. Duncan will present on N.C. mill workers as fodder for fiction at 9 a.m. Friday in the board room of the Yancey County Courthouse and again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Design Gallery.

Anna Fariello, WCU research associate professor and director of the Craft Revival Project, a digital collection focused on the region’s material culture, is author of books including “Cherokee Basketry” and “Cherokee Pottery,” published by The History Press as part of the From the Hands of Our Elders series. A prolific writer and researcher, Fariello was recipient of the 2010 Brown Hudson Award from the North Carolina Folklore Society. At 2:30 p.m. Friday in Town Center Area C, Fariello will present “Southern Craft: A Revival in the Mountains,” an illustrated talk on the history of the region’s craft from the late 19th into the early 20th century. At 3:30 p.m. in the same location, Fariello will read from her book on Cherokee basketry and lead a discussion afterward.

The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival includes novelists, poets, historians and journalists and has a mission to bring authors and readers together in intimate settings. A primary goal of the festival is to raise awareness of works of literary significance from smaller presses. For more information about the festival, visit www.cmlitfest.org.